Empson on course for national challenge

Gary Empson's win in the Wisbech '25' sets him up well for the National 10-mile Championship this Sunday.His 53:01 was substantially clear of established local stars David Staff (55:24) and Martin Pyne (57:09) and of the emerging ones Gary Rushmore (55:58) and Peter Balls (56:20).

Gary Empson's win in the Wisbech '25' sets him up well for the National 10-mile Championship this Sunday.

His 53:01 was substantially clear of established local stars David Staff (55:24) and Martin Pyne (57:09) and of the emerging ones Gary Rushmore (55:58) and Peter Balls (56:20).

Conditions were good but not excellent, with a slowly strengthening breeze across the flat, exposed Wisbech bypass course.

Personal bests from second-man-off Nathan Simmons, who finished a tantalising three seconds outside the hour, and Norwich rider Laurie Abel (1-4:07) looked promising, but later starters tended to say: "Hard both ways."


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Empson has an unusual late afternoon start time in the National Championship 10, which is based at Sawtry, near Peterborough.

Other local riders measuring themselves against the national stars include Mark Solley (Diss & District CC) and Peter Balls (West Suffolk Whs).

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David Staff was winner of the Plomesgate 25 on the two-lap triangular Butley-Tunstall-Bentwaters sporting course close to the Suffolk coast. His time was 58:05.

Comeback man Tony Barber was next fastest at the end of the first lap, but on the second he fell just behind Ipswich BC riders, Andrew Leggett and Angus Jardine, the final order being Leggett 58:32, Jardine 58:38 and Barber 58:50.

Finishers in the Anglo Polymers road race were said to have looked like coalminers just off shift, after racing closely bunched through rain-drenched and muddy country roads on a circuit near Huntingdon.

Phil Hargreaves (VC Norwich/Fitt Signs) made a brave attempt to escape with a dozen miles to go and at one stage had a 45-second lead.

However, the bunch reeled him back with less than a mile to go, though he had enough strength to take fourth place behind Trevor Burke (North Road) at the line.

Higher-category roadmen had an 89-mile race at Woodham Walter in Essex, which included nine ascents of the half-mile-long finish hill.

Glenn Stanford (API) made an early attempt to go it alone, eventually being joined by seven other competitors. His API team-mate, Kevin Chambers, escaped from this break at the 70-mile point and secured the victory, while Stanford claimed third place and Interbike rider Jan Strapek fifth.

Paul Ashby (Fat Birds CC) took third place in a 60-mile mountain-bike marathon at the Sherwood Pines mountain bike centre in Nottinghamshire.

Imogen Buick (Salsa Racing) from Wymondham took sixth in the juvenile women in the XC race on Saturday and fourth in Sunday's enduro. Luke Newby (Diss & District CC) was 15th in the XC Youth race.

The address of the organiser of the CC Breckland 10 on May 30 is 5 Bailey Close, Hethersett, and not as in the CTT handbook. Entries close on Saturday to this popular event, in which preference is given to the slowest, rather than - as is usually the case - the fastest entrants.

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